OLYMPIC GAMES: Paris congress to focus on reform and review: Samaranch set to make changes but drugs in sport likely to dominate proceedings

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The Independent Online
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WORLD sports leaders meet to draw up a blueprint for the Olympic Games of the 21st Century as they tackle the thorny issues of programme changes, doping and major International Olympic Committee reform at the first Olympic Congress to be held for 13 years.

The week-long Congress, to be opened in Paris on Monday by the French President, Francois Mitterrand, will also celebrate the centenary of the modern Olympic movement founded in the French capital by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

The International Olympic Committee president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, whose controversial 14-year tenure of office has already wrought radical reforms, is set to press for further change.

Samaranch has indicated he expects triathlon and taekwondo to take their places as medal sports. Boxing, once under serious threat, looks set to survive but modern pentathlon and synchronised swimming enthusiasts can anticipate a nervous week.

The IOC has loudly proclaimed its leadership in the fight against drug cheats but, amid signs that victory is far away and may even be receding, there could well be calls for a rethink in their approach.

The Congress will look for fresh ideas to counter the argument, increasingly heard, that drug use is now so ingrained in sport that the fight may as well be abandoned, as it was against professionalism and commercialism.

Samaranch, meanwhile, has made it known he would like to bring in international federation presidents and cut some of the present members to make the IOC a stronger body and the undisputed leader of world sport.

There have also been suggestions that members should be elected for fixed terms rather than retain their seats until the age of 75 as under present rules.